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Ambiguous Name: Elemental Rock Paper Scissors

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Jul 4th 2019 at 8:41:26 AM

Past discussions: Mine, Inquiry in 2015

I have hollered my previous thread to be re-opened, but for being long expired, a mod advised me to start a new thread instead.

About this thread

I have an issue with the name of Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors. The "Rock-Paper-Scissors" in its name suggest that one element is weak against another in a way that the whole system forms into a cycle. However, this is not reflected in the laconic or the long-winded description page.

This inconsistency also expands to other pages too; while most don't treat Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors like the cyclical relations between Elemental Powers as a require, Rock–Paper–Scissors in particular describes Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors, together with Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors, as a "X beats Y beats Z beats X" situationnote . Both Elemental and Tactical RPS has also both called Elemental RPS a sub-trope of Tactical RPSnote .

I have previously brought this up, and some tropers want this to be strictly cyclical, while creating a Super-Trope that's just about effectiveness from Elemental Powers. Others, however, find this too restrictive. As the result, I want the general conscious whether forming a cycle between elemental effectiveness should be part of Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors or not.

Wiki-checks

Based on the checks done on 7 Jun 2019, of the 137 examples, 52 of them show an element being effective against another such that they all form into a cycle. However as it assumes that this trope requires effectiveness among elements to be cyclical, this check only accounts for this criteria. Plus with new examples added, I need a new wiki-check whether the example has an instant of an elemental effectiveness as well as whether they form into a cycle.

    Checks 
Anime and Manga:
  • Naruto: Shows 5-elemental cycle.
  • One Piece: Only shows a few example of an elemental being advantageous over another. No cycle present.
  • Bleach: Only shows the relationship between 2 elements. No cycle present.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: No description on effectiveness between any of the elements.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew: No description on effectiveness between any of the elements.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! (first anime series): Referenced Eastern Elemental Cycle (Wu Xing)
  • Fairy Tail: Described relationship between a few elements. No cycle present.
  • Pokémon: Acknowledged elemental effectiveness. No cycle present.
  • Tokyo Underground: Described relationship between a few elements. No cycle present.
  • Saint Seiya Omega: Shows 5-elemental cycle.
  • Chivalry of a Failed Knight: Described a few elemental effectiveness. No cycle present.
  • Ushio and Tora: Uses Wi Xing
  • Soul Hunter: Shows 2 instances of elemental effectiveness
  • Black Clover: Described various elemental effectiveness
  • Rave Master: Demonstrates usages of elemental effectiveness
  • The Qwaser of Stigmata: Shows examples of a (chemical) element power against an elemental group.
Tally: 16 examples, 12 show effectiveness only, 4 show cycle.
Comics:
  • Marvel Comics: generally describes an enemies having elemental power to be exploited
    • Spider-Man: describes elemental weaknesses
    • X-Men: describe an elemental effectiveness
    • Incredible Hulk: described a character exploring his opponents' elemental powers
  • Green Lantern: Described relationships between elements and ring colors, but no cycle present.
Tally: 5 examples, all showing effectiness, None showing any cycle.
Fan Works: Tally: 2 examples, both showing effectiveness, none showing a cycle.
Literature:
  • Kaze no Stigma: Only described the elements' quirks.
  • Xanth: Shows three elemental cycle.
  • Codex Alera: Shows one element opposing another.
  • Elemental Masters: Explains the elements' relationship between one another.
  • Troubled Waters: Described elements and their traits. Uses Wu Xing as the template, but weaknesses might only by metaphorical.
  • The Wheel of Time: Shows elements and how they work. No effectiveness shown.
  • The Girl from the Well: Based on Wu Xing, 5-elemental cycle is stated.
  • Journey to Chaos: Elemental effectiveness does not form into a cycle.
  • The Bear, The Fire, and The Snow: 4-elemental cycle present.
  • I Favor The Villainess: 4-elemental cycle is established, but overall effectiveness is played with.
Tally: 10 examples, 3 showing effectiveness, 5 showing cycle.
Live-Action:
  • Endurance: Cycle of 3 elements is described.
Tally: 1 example which has a cycle.
Tabletop
  • Ammo: Shows 2 sets of Mutual Disadvantages
  • Feng Shui: Compares previous example
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Dungeon Dice Monsters: Shows few cases of cycles formed from elements, though two of them are not made up of Elemental Powers
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Shows 1 case of elemental cycle.
  • Rolemaster: Only lists elements
  • Magic: The Gathering: Only lists elements and what they do
  • Master of Magic: Compares previous example
  • Exalted: A cycle is present, but how they affect attacks is played with
  • Illuminati!: Not even correct use.
  • HERO System: No but yes in the form of special effects, but they do not form a cycle.
  • Scion: Shows elemental relations, but no cycle present.
Tally: 11 examples, 2 have effectiveness, 3 have cycles
Toys
  • BIONICLE: Barely any elemental relationships.
  • Battle Beasts: Has 3-elemental cycle.
  • Fistful of Aliens: Has 3-elemental cycle.
  • GoGo's Crazy Bones: Lists elements. No relationship between any of them explained.
  • Star Monsters: No elemental relations.
Tally: 5 examples, 0 have just effectiveness, 2 have cycles.
Video Games: Tally: 85 examples, 31 showing effectiveness only, 35 showing cycles.
Webcomics:
  • Whats Shakin: Only describes element's effectiveness against one.
  • Triquetra Cats: Only shows which characters use which elements
  • Adventurers!: Not even used correctly.
  • Slightly Damned: No context beyond a broken link.
  • Bob and George: Only shows one element about to be effective to another.
Tally: 5 examples, 2 showing effectiveness, none showing cycle.
Web Originals:
  • RPS 101: Described each element having an advantage against one and weak to another, but no cycle is present. (Tactical instead?)
  • Demon Thesis: Described elemental effects only.
Tally: 2 examples, 1 show elemental effectiveness, none showing any cycle.
Western Animation Tally: 3 examples, all showing effectiveness, none showing cycle.
Final Tally: 142 examples, 55 show elemental effectiveness only, 50 show elemental cycle

Solutions

First and foremost: Transfer examples in Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors that don't even show element's effectiveness into more appropriate tropes. While they are there, they are minor outliers unrelated to this problem. While I go deal with this, I need a majority vote on what to do next based on the following paths:

Path A: Not-An-RPS (This trope does not require the elements to form into a cycle)

  1. Rename Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors to remove "Rock-Paper-Scissors" to clear confusion once and for all.
  2. Remove all cases of Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors being refered to as a type of Rock–Paper–Scissors.
  3. Transfer all cyclical examples to Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors, adding back elemental rps as a category.

Path B: Is-An-RPS (This trope requires the elements to form into a cycle)

  1. Launch a its Super-Trope to cover elemental effectiveness in general. (See TPL here)
  2. Remove all examples in Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors that are in the Super-Trope.
  3. Rewrite Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors' description page.

Edited by Kindle4Light on Sep 22nd 2019 at 11:13:53 PM

Sep 10th 2019 at 7:39:12 AM

I think we may be dealing with Missing Supertrope Syndrome, where there's a need for a trope describing a system of elemental strengths and weaknesses that don't necessarily create a full Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors cycle in which each element has a clear advantage over one other element and clear disadvantage over one other while being of mixed or neutral effectiveness against the rest.

This is demonstrably a thing; for example, many works that include both Ice and Fire elemental affinities give them a Mutual Disadvantage relationship where each deals extra damage to the other, rather than one having an overall "paper beats rock" style advantage over the other.

Call that missing supertrope "Elemental Tactical Interactions" for the moment. The question then is whether the overlap between Elemental Tactical Interactions and Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors is distinct enough to constitute a trope in its own right.

My gut instinct is to say that it's not, and that we should pursue Path A.

Examples that overlap with TRPS, Mutual Disadvantage, Elemental Absorption, etc. can be noted in the example text without requiring a strict sub- / supertrope relationship in which all examples of one trope must be an example of another.

Edited by HighCrate on Sep 10th 2019 at 7:43:53 AM

wingedcatgirl cat_rotation.gif from Catgirl Heaven, presumably Relationship Status: Crazy Cat Lady
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Sep 10th 2019 at 7:43:54 AM

I vote path B, mostly because trying to merge elemental cycles back into Tactical RPS sounds like a pain.

🐱 Name: Sylvi 🐱 Pronouns: it/they/she 🐱
Sep 10th 2019 at 7:47:03 AM

As I said in the trope page 4 years ago (has it really been 4 years since then?)

We need a lot of tropes here.

Edited by Memers on Sep 10th 2019 at 7:48:03 AM

Sep 10th 2019 at 7:51:36 AM

[up] Disagree. The only one of those we actually need is the missing supertrope. Everything else is covered by some combination of that supertrope and/or existing tropes. There's no need to create a new subtrope for every such combination.

[up][up] "It sounds like work" isn't a good reason for not doing this right.

Edited by HighCrate on Sep 10th 2019 at 7:51:57 AM

Sep 10th 2019 at 8:16:14 AM

Ok, now that the thread is open, I'm adding a crowner here: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/PageAction/ElementalRockPaperScissorsPlans


I have also hollered a mod to link the crowner.

Edited by Kindle4Light on Sep 10th 2019 at 11:33:51 PM

ArsThaumaturgis Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
Sep 10th 2019 at 9:11:37 AM

(The first part of this—before the quote-block—is copy-pasted from my reply in the Ask the Tropers thread)

I'm inclined to think that, per Tropes Are Flexible, an example needn't have an actual cycle to fit the spirit of the trope. As I see it, the core idea here is that of "there are multiple elements, and they are related to each other by virtue of a given element being strictly better or worse than one or more others".

For example, imagine a system in which the elements form a chain, with element one being better than element two, element two being better than element three, and so on, but with the final element not being better than element one. In this case I would argue that it still fits the basic concept.

This is demonstrably a thing; for example, many works that include both Ice and Fire elemental affinities give them a Mutual Disadvantage relationship where each deals extra damage to the other, rather than one having an overall "paper beats rock" style advantage over the other.

I might argue that this is a Rock-Paper-Scissors-style cycle, just with only two elements: instead of "Rock > Scissors > Paper > Rock", it's "Fire > Ice > Fire".

Thus, I suppose that my suggestion is to leave the trope as-is (both name and definition), but add a note to the definition indicating that an example doesn't have to be strictly cyclical to count. (i.e. I'm arguing for neither A nor B.)

[edit] I don't take part in these discussions very often, so if I may ask: if I want to ask for an addition to the above-linked crowner, should I just add it myself, or ask for the originator to add it?

Edited by ArsThaumaturgis on Sep 10th 2019 at 6:36:26 PM

A Door to the Mists: Traversal, exploration, puzzles, and combat in a heroic-fantasy setting
RallyBot2 King of Nitpicking from Nowhere Significant Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
King of Nitpicking
Sep 10th 2019 at 9:13:34 AM

[up]I agree with keeping it the same, but I don't agree that mutual advantage/disadvantage is a RPS scenario.

Sep 10th 2019 at 9:20:51 AM

@ArsThaumaturgis: I was hoping that no one would suggest this option, though as long as there's clarity whether it's rps or not, I'm ok with this option.

I wouldn't mind if you added the option in yourself, but now that I've read it, I've added it in for you.

Edited by Kindle4Light on Sep 11th 2019 at 12:22:06 AM

ArsThaumaturgis Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
Sep 10th 2019 at 9:31:42 AM

[up] Thank you for adding that! I've made a minor edit, if that's okay, just clarifying that the suggested position is that an example can be cyclical—it's just needn't be. (As you had it, it read to me a bit as though suggesting that an example shouldn't be cyclical.)

[edit] I suppose that this is one of the pitfalls of "exemplar work as a title"-naming: it incurs the question of which aspects of that work are relevant to including an example. (A bit like the question of what defines a "Roguelike". Some (like me) tend to be fairly flexible about the definition, while others prefer a closer adherence to the nature of the exemplar work.

... Which is an argument for "Path A", I suppose. While I'm still in favour of leaving the trope largely as-is, I'm not enormously opposed to renaming it.

Edited by ArsThaumaturgis on Sep 10th 2019 at 6:40:44 PM

A Door to the Mists: Traversal, exploration, puzzles, and combat in a heroic-fantasy setting
WarJay77 Spooky Scary from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Spooky Scary
Sep 10th 2019 at 10:03:08 AM

[up] I would agree. I think the trope is fine, but the name might be misleading.

Female troper who likes Pokemon, ARGs, Writing, and more. / Links: Sandbox.Zero Context Example Thread - Sandbox.Roleplay Cleanup Thread
Berrenta MOD Heating things up from Texas Relationship Status: Can't buy me love
Heating things up
Sep 10th 2019 at 10:04:42 AM

As requested in a holler, crowner is hooked.

Sep 10th 2019 at 10:39:27 AM

If the trope does not require a Rock-Paper-Scissors-esque cycle of strength / weakness to count, then 1.) it's got a non-indicative name, which should be changed, and 2.) it is not a Sub-Trope to Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors and should not be listed as such.

Which says Path A to me.

Edited by HighCrate on Sep 10th 2019 at 10:46:05 AM

ArsThaumaturgis Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
Sep 10th 2019 at 11:10:03 AM

Honestly, I think that I would make the same argument for Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors as for this elemental version: that an example needn't have a cycle to count; that the core concept is broader and more-flexible than that.

Thus, if we're going to rename Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, it might not be a bad idea to do the same for Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors.

(Although again, I'm fairly happy with both names.)

A Door to the Mists: Traversal, exploration, puzzles, and combat in a heroic-fantasy setting
4tell0life4 Relationship Status: Giving love a bad name
Sep 10th 2019 at 4:10:14 PM

I'm fine with "not needing cycle", but with the caveat that it can count cyclical examples as well. I don't see why we can't have both in the same page.

But if that's the case, the trope needs a rename, as well.

To the intellectuals, ignorants are slaves.
Sep 10th 2019 at 4:14:08 PM

The fact that a game even has an elemental strength and weakness system in the first place IS a trope. Not every game has it, even RP Gs like Wo W and FFXIV DITCHED theirs.

Do note that most works do NOT have any kind of pattern with their weaknesses, random enemy x can have any elemental weakness in the game or even ALL of them. The Persona series is notorious in how their enemies just have no pattern to their weaknesses and strengths leading to a LOT of trial and error.

Having a cycle or even some kind of structure to their system is a subtrope. If this just a general trope, a Cycle Of Elements needs to be YKTT Wed as well as that is a trope by itself!

Edited by Memers on Sep 10th 2019 at 4:23:31 AM

ArsThaumaturgis Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
Sep 10th 2019 at 6:17:32 PM

I'm fine with "not needing cycle", but with the caveat that it can count cyclical examples as well. I don't see why we can't have both in the same page.

Oh, of course! That's pretty much my position—my apologies if I gave the impression that I held that it excluded examples with cycles! ^^;

The fact that a game even has an elemental strength and weakness system in the first place IS a trope. ...

Do note that most works do NOT have any kind of pattern with their weaknesses, random enemy x can have any elemental weakness in the game or even ALL of them. ...

Having a cycle or even some kind of structure to their system is a subtrope.

Hmm... That's a good point, I think. I might suggest then that we have a supertrope called "Elemental Weaknesses" (or similar), and then "Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors" as a subtrope of both that and "Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors".

In a sense it could said that "Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors" takes the otherwise-formless system that is "Elemental Weaknesses", and applies structure taken from "Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors".

That said, I still think that the current definition for "Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors" is fine—I just think that we may be missing a supertrope that's more general than even I'm interpreting "Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors" to be.

Edited by ArsThaumaturgis on Sep 10th 2019 at 3:18:06 PM

A Door to the Mists: Traversal, exploration, puzzles, and combat in a heroic-fantasy setting
Sep 10th 2019 at 10:31:14 PM

^ To be fair, I worded it wrong when I added the new option.

I think having a cycle can distinguish Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors as an RPS from elemental weaknesses/resistances as the whole as by having a cycle, it ensures balance among Elemental Powers while one have a complete advantage over another.

However, when it comes to comparing Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors, as an RPS, to Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors, I don't think having Elemental Powers would be enough to distinguish the former from the latter.

Sep 11th 2019 at 12:15:10 AM

I agree with ArsThaumaturgis for the most part. I don't think having a cycle is an important enough distinction to be its own trope. The important part is that elements have fixed interaction with each other.

I have played a few games where they have both "cyclical" and "opposite" style at the same time. Like one I remember is a mobile game called Dragon Knights which has Fire, Water, Wood, Light, and Darkness; and the interaction goes Fire > Wood > Water > Fire and Light <-> Darkness. Another game is Terra Battle 2 before the revamp, which has Fire > Ice > Earth > Ice, Wind <-> Thunder, Photon <-> Graviton, and then there are Darkness and Non-Elemental which have arbitrary interactions with the other elements (here's the full chart)

They're all under the same system, so listing half of them in a page and the other half in another feels unnecessary. Should we even mention Pokémon type system?

Honestly I'm fine with the current page (slightly bloated description aside), but I wouldn't mind renaming it to Elemental Interaction either. I do think we're missing a more general Elemental Strengths And Weaknesses supertrope, but any other actions are not necessary.

Edited by TrueShadow1 on Sep 11th 2019 at 12:17:01 PM

ArsThaumaturgis Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
Sep 11th 2019 at 7:28:00 AM

I think having a cycle can distinguish Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors as an RPS from elemental weaknesses/resistances as the whole as by having a cycle, it ensures balance among Elemental Powers while one have a complete advantage over another.

Hmm... It seems to me that such a balance is more a detail of a specific implementation than a distinction of type.

(Not to mention that I daresay that an non-cyclical example of such a system could be balanced in other ways, such as the cost to use a given element.)

I do think that the balancing effect of a cycle may be worth mentioning on the page, if it isn't already—it's a relevant point to cover in discussing such systems, I think.

However, when it comes to comparing Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors, as an RPS, to Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors, I don't think having Elemental Powers would be enough to distinguish the former from the latter.

I was thinking about that earlier myself. Either way, it seems to me that "Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors" is pretty much just "Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors, but with elements".

However, it also occurred to me that it is, I think, a particularly common form of "Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors"—enough that merging the two would likely bloat the page considerably. In addition, that commonness makes it salient, and thus noteworthy, to my mind.

Edited by ArsThaumaturgis on Sep 11th 2019 at 4:28:35 PM

A Door to the Mists: Traversal, exploration, puzzles, and combat in a heroic-fantasy setting
Sep 11th 2019 at 8:50:50 AM

[up][up][up] That's also implying that things even HAVE weaknesses. A lot of games have monsters with no weakness what so ever, only strengths especially late game bosses. Player Characters themselves too, especially if they are human. FFX uses mutually exclusive elements of Fire vs Ice and Water vs Lightning but that doesn't actually apply to the player ala Pokemon or SMT.

There are a lot of variables in Elemental Weakness And Strengths and they are all really tropable but this trope is currently covering everything.

Edited by Memers on Sep 11th 2019 at 8:56:22 AM

WarJay77 Spooky Scary from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
Spooky Scary
Sep 11th 2019 at 9:48:03 AM

If it has to be a literal cycles, not even Pokemon would count. It has a few small rock-paper-scissors effects (like grass-water-fire), but the chart is so much more complex and varied than that.

Female troper who likes Pokemon, ARGs, Writing, and more. / Links: Sandbox.Zero Context Example Thread - Sandbox.Roleplay Cleanup Thread
Sep 11th 2019 at 9:53:18 AM

[up][up] From what I see, the games you're mentioning are operating under two different systems:

  • Pokemon style: A unit has an "elemental type", and this type decides its elemental strengths and weaknesses. All fire-type units will always be weak to water. All earth type units will take less damage from lightning. Exceptions are few, and are notable. This is what I think the current Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors should be (no cycle needed).
  • Shin Megami Tensei style: Each unit has its own elemental strengths and weaknesses, unrelated to anything else. A fire-using unit can be weak to ice, while another fire-using can resist it. A unit can be weak to all elements or resist everything if the game designers make them so. We don't have a trope for this yet.

So, my suggestion is to make an Elemental Strength And Weakness supertrope, with Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors (with a possible rename) as the first system, and make another trope to cover the second system.

Edited by TrueShadow1 on Sep 11th 2019 at 9:53:51 AM

ArsThaumaturgis Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
Sep 11th 2019 at 10:16:55 AM

[up] I think that I'd pretty much agree with this (and thus with a slightly weaker form of what Memers is suggesting). (Including the idea that the supertrope doesn't only cover elemental weaknesses, but also elemental strengths.)

A Door to the Mists: Traversal, exploration, puzzles, and combat in a heroic-fantasy setting
Sep 11th 2019 at 10:27:45 AM

Pokemon is the quintessential Rock–Paper–Scissors yeah, It is structured, balanced and literally Rock–Paper–Scissors and every element is part of at least 3 Rock–Paper–Scissors combos going at once. Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock style.

The question I have is if a cycle greater than 3 ala Naruto fits as the super trope to Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors, Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors does NOT cover it.


And yeah works like SMT and Final Fantasy occasionally will dip into Logical Elemental Strengths And Weaknesses like water monsters might be weak to lightning but the freeform nature of the way the combat is set up its more just the player exploiting a weakness most of the time. There might be limited Mutual Disadvantage going on AT BEST.

then you can have like 3 weaknesses and 1 strength or or be various levels of strong vs everything. And then it becomes trial and error or have to use use a Scanning Item to get anywhere.

Edited by Memers on Sep 11th 2019 at 10:32:36 AM

Page Action: Elemental Rock Paper Scissors Description
20th Oct '19 4:39:26 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
At issue:
What should we do to this trope\'s description?

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